Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has finished what he calls an “extensive interview” with RCMP over the Global Transportation Hub land deal.
He told reporters Wednesday about undergoing the interview with police earlier in the summer.
“It covered the whole issue very well,” Wall said of the RCMP interview. “They were in-depth questions. They were very familiar with the project. They’d read, not just the auditor’s report, but the coverage.
“I thought it was very thorough.”
The interview was related to an investigation into a series of land transactions that ended with the government buying a parcel of land for an interchange at the Global Transportation Hub, west of Regina.
The province bought 204 acres of land for a price of about $21 million.
The provincial auditor found the government overpaid for the parcel of land. Now, the RCMP is doing its own investigation.
Wall told reporters he was interviewed by officers earlier this summer. He said he did not have a lawyer present for the interview, and would not disclose where it took place.
Wall talks next steps
He said that once the RCMP is done its work, the province could “take the next step, if there is to be one.”
The next step might mean government officials taking questions under oath at committee, he said, something he was opposed to in the past.
“I will rule nothing out because I also want the public to have much more confidence about what happened here than they do and I know they have a lot of questions,” Wall said. “I want all of the answers on the table to the satisfaction of the people whom I serve, whom we all serve.”
“But we’re going to let the RCMP do their work.”
When asked about whether he would launch a public inquiry now, Wall said the Ministry of Justice has advised the province not to start a public inquiry while the RCMP is investigating.
Wall said he was told by Lori Pushor, senior advisor to former Minister of Economy Bill Boyd, that the ministry believed it would have to pay more than some appraisals suggested the land was worth in order to buy the property.
He said the provincial government didn’t want to pay more, but felt it had to in order to strike the deal.
“All I know is that the final price came in lower than we authorized and we’re selling the land for much, much, much more,” Wall said.
Anthony Marquart, a Regina-based businessman, made $5 million from the GTH’s purchase of the land.